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Prohibition’s Influence on High Valley Wine Country History

During the 1870s, the Ogulin Family moved to the region and planted Zinfandel and Muscat. They were originally from Slovenia. Some of these vines are still alive today and some of the oldest in Lake County. Shannon Ridge owns part of the Ogulin Family’s original property. Harold Ogulin is a 3rd generation descendant of the original pioneers and still lives in the area.

Unfortunately, the region’s significant wine industry ended when the 18th amendment was passed. At this point, the focus shifted to other agricultural goods. Many of the region’s prized vines were uprooted to make room for other crops. It would be many years before serious grape growing occurred again in the area.

The Brassfield Family was integral in High Valley’s re-birth as a premium wine region. In 1973, Jerry Brassfield bought 1,600 acres in High Valley. He continued purchasing and raised cattle for many years before deciding to plant grapes. In 1998, he established Brassfield Estate. But he did not begin developing vineyards until 2001. Since then Brassfield Estate has become the best known producer in the region.

In 1999, the Dharmapalan Family began planting vines in High Valley and established Monte Lago Winery. The name is in reference to the Clear Lake and the surrounding mountains. Monte Lago’s 500 acre estate is planted with 130 acres of vineyards between 2,000 and 2,400 feet above sea level.

In 2003, Dustin and Bobbie Brassfield finished clearing their land and began planting grapes. Dustin is Jerry Brassfield’s nephew. AVA status was granted to High Valley on August 1, 2005.

> Lake Country Wineries

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